Will The Maple Die

We had this great old maple
In which he often climbed.
It has a great scar now.
One bolt of Lightning
Split and burnt it.

What starts the rift that splits,
A father from his son?
Were my words the bolt
That caused the fissure?
My impatient young son
Wanted to leave college
Get married, be on his own.

“That’s dumb, you’re not ready.
Did you knock her up?”
“I’m not dumb. I work hard
So how would you know?
You’re always into your shit,
Never interested in me or mine.”

In a month its leaves – almost gone.
Except for one lone branch
That clung to life.

“My brother did the same;
It led to 5 kids, then divorce,
A pained hard life, early death.
Life is long and costs a lot.
In a few years you’ll have tools
Needed for success, but not yet.”

“I can’t stand it under your thumb.
Your way’s the only way.
Not one minute more, I’m out’a here.
I don’t need your money or advice”

“You’re on your own. Stupid,
But it’s your life and call.
Life changes much
It gets so very painfully hard”

I struck first with my words.
But was leaving in the works?
Did I hide my love to educate
Or was I just not looking
Ignoring him just like my dad?
Am I a tree that’s slowly dying?

In August, the bark started curling –
Even the limb with leaves
Drooped. It was so sad
To see his old climbing tree
Hopeless beginning to die.

-Jack Riordan


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